“The Exorcist ” Receives Rome’s “Unofficial Blessing”

By Raymond E. Harris

The UPI News Service recently released a story from Rome which contained some rather unbelievable statements from members of a 10 man panel of Vatican experts on exorcism. They had just seen a private screening of the highly controversial film “The Exorcist.” They unanimously gave the picture their “unofficial blessing.”

Despite the fact that the film is filled with language not fit for a mule to hear (including most every word ever written on a bus station restroom wall) they said, “All of us thought it was a good film.” Despite the fact that the film shows a young girl urinating in front of a party crowd and practicing masturbation with a crucifix, the priests thought that in contrast to many ultra-violent pictures “The Exorcist is tame and upbeat.” Despite all the scenes that deal with pus, vomit, blood and spit, these Catholic theologians exclaimed, “This is the real thing,” Despite levitating beds, mysteriously moving chests and chairs and a variety of other Hollywood goodies, these Catholic officials described the movie by saying “The viewers are seeing a realistic and accurate representation of a mystery the Roman Catholic Church believes in . . . .”

It seems to me that the Catholic Church must be starving for sensational publicity to sanction such as this. Even the callous movie industry gave the film an “R” Rating and banned everyone under 18 from seeing the filthy thing; but, some of the Vaticans finest think it’s a “good film.”

Yes, there were priests and other Catholics coming and going all through the film, but in reality the Catholic Church was not depicted all that gloriously. The priest that might be described as one of the main characters, drank, smoked, and was filled with guilt, depression, said he was losing his faith and gave serious consideration to getting out of the priesthood. And in the final analysis, the old priest that was called in to practice the exorcism failed and died of a, heart attack. Then the drinking, smoking, wavering younger priest made a proposition with the demon that if he would come out of the young girl, he could come into him. And when that happened the demon possessed priest jumped out the window committing suicide.

If that’s good publicity and public relations, I do not want any. If the exorcist had centered around a gospel preacher I would have been embarrassed and ashamed. Yet Catholic experts in Rome think it is a “good film,” and give it their “unofficial blessing.”

Well, to each his own.

By the way, in case you are wondering how I know so much about the picture – I read a lot.

Truth Magazine, XVIII:36, p. 13-14
July 18, 1974